Burning Bush, anyone?

>MAY I interest you in some
>Aunt Mary? Or perhaps a
>little baby bhang? No, I
>can see, you prefer El
>Diablito. Or bambalacha? Juju? Laughing
>weed? Doobie, chillum, ganja, blue
>de Hue, black mo, ding,
>bud, leaf, Marley, pachalolo? Of
>course, how could I be
>so foolish, some rainy day
>woman? Still not with me?
>How about some skunk, righteous
>bush or, let's be perfectly
>clear, marijuana?
>The intimate, hazy compact between pot
>smokers and their herb has
>generated a thesaurus of terms
>for cannabis, rivalled only perhaps
>by the Eskimos and their
>supposedly countless words for snow.
>Now one of those terms
>has leapt from the bubbling
>bong of pot subculture and
>landed in the American mainstream:
>420, pronounced four-twenty, has become
>the banner cry for high
>school pot smokers and for
>those campaigning to legalise marijuana.
>It can be used as a
>verb, noun or adjective. One
>can 420 (smoke pot), be
>420ed (have smoked pot and
>be stoned), or remark that
>"it's 4.20", even when it
>is not, as an exhortation
>to let the smoking commence.
>In the West Coast bud-hubs
>of northern California and Oregon,
>a popular car sticker reads
>"4.20 - 24-7", encouraging pot
>smoking every hour of every
>day. Another goes "It's 4.19
>- gotta minute?"
>The National Organisation for the Reform
>of Marijuana Laws (NORML) will
>hold its annual conference on
>April 20 (4/20), a day
>they have christened Stoner's New
>Year. "We have scheduled the
>conference to coincide with 4/20,"
>it says, "a date that
>has become associated in the
>popular culture as a special
>day for marijuana smokers. We
>hope to build on that
>tradition." NORML also supports a
>website and newsletter, 420times.com, and
>a 420girls site featuring "hundreds
>of beautiful girls smoking weed".
>All over the internet, there are
>sites selling T-shirts, snowboards and
>posters with 420 motifs. At
>the 420 Lounge, a chat-room
>run by the High Times
>newsletter, pot smokers can discuss
>their habit.
>The origin of the phrase is
>obscure. The most common explanation
>is that it comes from
>the police code "420", used
>by officers in California to
>alert colleagues to a pot-smoking
>incident. It was then taken
>up by the Grateful Dead,
>who popularised it as a
>term for lighting up. Another
>theory is that 4.20 was
>the time that most high
>school students got back home
>and lit up. If they
>smoked at the same time,
>they believed, it would be
>impossible for the police to
>catch them all. A more
>sinister edge was given to
>the term in 1999, when
>two students at Columbine High
>School in Colorado went on
>a shooting spree, which left
>15 people dead. They chose
>the day because it was
>the anniversary of Hitler's death.
>But high school authorities have
>since been more concerned about
>students treating 4/20 as a
>On university campuses across the United
>States, April 20 is an
>occasion for dope smoking, nudity
>and pranks. In America, where
>it is illegal to buy
>alcohol until you are 21,
>pot smoking is far more
>entrenched in high school life
>than in Europe. It has
>spawned an entire culture of
>art, poetry and films, which
>teenagers inherited from their baby-boomer
>parents and fused with the
>cartoons, videos and music of
>their own generation.
>American high school movies, such as
>the just-released Dude, Where's My
>Car, are far more likely
>to include scenes of pot
>smoking than drunkenness. Teen pot
>smoking, however, relies on being
>subversive. Now that the hairies
>of the adult hemp movement
>are bringing 420 into the
>mainstream, parents will work out
>what 420 means, and the
>term will fizzle from use.
>Sweet Lucy, anyone?
>by Philip Delves Broughton
>Tuesday 30 January 2001
>ISSUE 2076